Perhaps an odd question; yet, I encourage you to reflect on those times when you were or still are in seasons of waiting. For example, you may have waited for pregnancy test results after years of infertility. You may be waiting for your child to come to Christ, or for your marriage to heal or for finances to improve. Waiting can be difficult; yet, beneficial if you trust God’s directives.
Joseph spent 13 years in slavery and prison before God placed him as second-in-command of Egypt. Moses spent 40 years as a nomad and the Israelites spent 400 years in slavery before God orchestrated their exodus. God’s timing and lessons are perfect.
Romans 5:3-4 “…we exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to me.”
In the process of turning circumstances over to God and trusting His outcome, you develop “proven” character, which is “what you really are when no one is looking”.
Your character is tested when you are tested. Do you respond to trials with wisdom and maturity or with selfishness and grumblings?
Malachi 3:3, states “sit as a purifier and refiner of silver.” A silversmith, while refining silver, places it in the hottest part of the fire forcing the impurities to burn off. He must watch the silver constantly as it is damaged if it remains in the fire too long. He knows the process is complete when his image is reflected in the silver. God is your Refiner, burning off your impurities, waiting His image to be reflected in your life.
Proven character requires accepting God’s sovereignty. Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This does not mean He will be Santa Claus and give you every one of your whims. It means you need to align yourself with God, commit to Him, and He will give you – place within you – His perfect desires for you.
Proven character produces hope. Hope keeps you moving forward. It allows you to trust in God’s sovereignty for your future. It keeps you pressing forward towards His prize.
You may lose hope if you focus on your circumstances rather than on the Savior. Gal. 6:9, “Do not grow weary in doing good for at the appointed time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.” Note: You will reap a harvest if you do not give up. Be mindful to know God’s harvest for you.
The Israelites had been promised a Savior, believing He would come as a conquering King and wipe away their suffering and triumphing over the enemy. When He came as an infant and a servant, many didn’t recognize Him.
You, too, may be expecting God to work differently in your life than what you see. His interest is in developing wisdom and holiness in us versus happiness, and in seeing transformation and blessings versus bitterness.
So, how do you wait? Be C-O-N-T-E-N-T
- C- Be Content. The Apostle Paul had come from privilege; yet, endured many hardships such as being in jail, being beaten and shipwrecked. Yet, he proclaimed, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Phil 4:11-12 He chose to look at His Savior versus circumstances.
- O- Be Optimistic Reflect on the positive: “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if there is anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Phil. 4:11-13 Replace negative thoughts with positive.
- N- Never Fear. Verses 6-7 state: “Be anxious [not fearful] for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” During times of struggles we will be anxious and afraid at times. Focus on God and take your fears to Him.
- T- Trust Him. Jer. 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, plans to give a hope and a future.” God desires to prosper us and give us that hope and future that we are seeking. We need to be mindful to understand that God’s idea of prosperity and ours are not always the same. God’s cares most about our heart and if the circumstances transform our hearts and help us focus on Him, then that is prosperity.
- E- Enjoy the Journey. Phil 4:4 tells us to rejoice in the Lord, always. Verse 10 tells us to rejoice with others. There is no greater place to be then in the center of God’s will doing what He has called you to do.
- N- Draw Near to God. Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Pay attention to what God is trying to teach you during this time and remember that He never stops working in your life.
- T- Expect to be Transformed. Rom. 12:2 ,“…do not be conformed to this world, but …to the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Patti uses a cute story of “Carrots, Egg and Coffee” to give a word picture of the value in waiting. Check it out on my facebook link below.